Formula 1: Horner warns of price collapse

In the face of rising inflation rates and sky-high freight costs, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has warned those responsible for Formula 1 and the FIA ​​about a gloomy scenario. Cost pressures and the current budget ceiling could result in “possibly seven teams missing the last four races to stay within the ceiling this year”. Is the racing series threatened by a cost collapse?

A budget ceiling has been in effect in Formula 1 since 2021, this year the limit is $ 140 million. The ten teams may not spend more for the season (with the exception of driver pay). The cap aims to ensure that the gap between “poor” and “rich” teams does not widen too much. So more equal opportunities.

Horner: Uncontrollable cost explosion for teams

According to Horner, the lid puts many teams under extreme pressure this year due to uncontrollable influences.

“Things like energy bills, the cost of living. Costs are rising exponentially, and Formula 1 is no exception. We see freight costs have quadrupled and that’s something we can not control.”

Top teams demand inflation compensation

The FIA ​​has a “duty of care” for racing teams, says Horner of the World Automobile Association. “In the second half of the year, the FIA ​​must address this issue,” the Briton demanded. It is necessary for the World Federation to work hand in hand with Liberty Media’s Formula 1 rights holders to bring the issue under control.

Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko had already called for inflation compensation on the sidelines of the Spanish GP in Barcelona. The prices of material and transport “have risen enormously,” Marko told “ORF”. “The pandemic and the war (Russia against Ukraine, ed.) Were events that could not have been foreseen, and these inflation rates are not normal.” Under current conditions, neither Mercedes, Red Bull nor Ferrari could keep the budget ceiling during the season.

According to the BBC, McLaren joined the call for inflation compensation.

“Or we have to lay off 50 people”

Last but not least, inflation affects teams’ arms races in the development of their cars. “It is no longer possible to bring new parts to every race. At the pace of development that we are now seeing, many teams will soon have to reach the limits of the cost ceiling,” Ferrari team manager Mattia Binotto had predicted after Miami. GP.

According to “auto motor und sport”, the top teams devote about ten percent of their budget to developing the car. Smaller racing teams like Haas, Williams or Alfa Romeo have more leeway, for example because they have to pay fewer employees. According to experts, there can be no further development after the Canada race in June, “if everyone plays honestly,” the report says. “Or we have to lay off 50 people,” the trade magazine quoted a team leader as saying.

Vasseur is against the big ones

No inflation surcharge is currently planned. According to the rules, it would be $ 4 million if inflation had been more than 3 percent by September last year. But she was just below. The inflation rate in the euro area is currently more than seven percent and in the UK, where seven teams are based, it is even nine percent.

The big teams like Red Bull therefore argue à la Marko that force majeure will force them to stop the development work unless the budget ceiling is adjusted.

Alfa Romeo team manager Frédéric Vasseur, on the other hand, says: “Inflation has nothing to do with force majeure. The pandemic was force majeure. Inflation is a normal process. Those teams that do not have much room for improvement can easily react to it. They just have to “shut down their wind tunnel and build fewer parts. For us, freight and electricity have become more expensive. We have to deal with it somehow,” the Frenchman said.

Formula 1: the championship for accountants?

Ultimately, given the financial situation, Formula 1 can also become a championship for accountants, where tricks and creative calculations determine whether development or stagnation. An atmosphere that some team representatives consider unhealthy.

F1 and FIA are sympathetic to the demand for an inflation supplement. For this to take effect, however, eight teams must give their blessing. Alfa (Sauber), Williams and Alpine are now against it. “If we abandon the rules now, that would be the end of the budget ceiling,” warns Alfa team manager Vassuer.

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